The Mad Hatter smiled at Alice and poured her a cup of tea. Alice looked back in bewilderment as the Mad Hatter asked if she wanted sugar. It was the sixth cup he had poured for her in less than half an hour and she wondered how to politely but forcefully tell her host that enough was enough.
So Alice pulled herself up to her full height, not intimidating, after all she was just a little girl not yet in her teens, but never the less still far taller than her bunny eared host. As far as tea was concerned, she told him, her thirst had been well and truly quenched. The Mad Hatter, who if nothing else was a gentleman, calmly explained to Alice that as time in Wonderland always stood still and never moved past four in the afternoon it was always tea time.
Seeing the surprise on the face of Alice he quickly explained to her that the tea party was not the only place where time stood still. Apparently he and his tea party guests had once visited the United Nations Human Rights Committee offices in Geneva while a debate was in progress. “I might be as mad as a Hatter,” he said, “but the delegates at the UN meeting were, well Barking Mad!”
At the mention of the words “United Nations,” the Door Mouse, who had been sleeping with his head resting on his arms on the table, woke up and shouted “Down with Israel.” Alice shocked at this sudden interruption asked the Mad Hatter if he could explain what Israel was. The rabbit had little idea but believed it was a small democratic country in the heart of a totalitarian area called “The Middle East.” All he knew was delegates at the debating chamber just shouted the slogan all the time and that the Door Mouse, who was very impressionable, had taken it up without understanding its meaning. It was, he said, a game the delegates played. At least it must be a game, he added, because otherwise their actions made little sense.
He told her constant year round debates were held in the chamber about Israel. The atmosphere, he said, was very much like that at the Tea Party in Wonderland. It was constant and never changing. Time stood still but instead of drinking tea, which Alice agreed with the Hatter was a harmless past time, they instead harangued Israel. At the conclusion of the debates a vote to condemn Israel’s behaviour or set up an inquiry was usually voted through.
During the course of the committee’s existence 93 separate motions had been discussed and 39 of them directly concerned the State of Israel. In fact with the passing of time the motions had become ever more frequent no matter what was happening elsewhere in the world. Thick and fast they poured forward like a tsunami. Alice, putting on her serious face, interjected that these Israelis must be a pretty awful people and Israel a pretty awful country to deserve such treatment.
The Mad Hatter laughed and explained the debates by and large were nothing to do with behaviour good or bad. Condemning Israel was just something the United Nations did. In truth they dealt with very little else. He then told Alice that the most vehement speaker against Israel in the latest hearings was a delegate from a place called Syria who ranted and raged about Israel’s abuse of the Arab population of the West Bank and an area called the Golan Heights once ruled by Syria. No mention was made of the fact that the Government he served, according to independent estimates, had slaughtered more than 8,000 of its own people simply for demanding freedom.
Alice, who was an intelligent girl, asked the Mad Hatter about the extent of Israeli atrocities on the Golan Heights, and thought they must be pretty awful if these actions took prominence over the mass slaughter of civilians by the Syrian Government. The Mad Hatter, always fair and balanced, said he was not quiet sure but to the best of his recollection there had been no fatalities on the Golan Heights. Not at least any he could recall. As Alice gasped for breath at the seeming injustice of it all the Mad Hatter told her there was a country called Iran which was responsible for terrorism on a global scale and executed more of its people per head of population than any other country in the world.
So Alice asked, how many debates have taken place about Iran’s outrageous behaviour. The Mad Hatter confessed there had been one single debate but could not understand how it had managed to push the ritual condemnation of Israel off the agenda. At the mention of the word “Israel,” The Door Mouse, stirred once again and shouted “down with Israel,” before immediately falling asleep again and burying the side of his face in a cream puff.
By now Alice was becoming more and more alarmed and demanded to know of The Hatter why seemingly sane and sensible countries went along with this charade. The Hatter confessed he had no answer and thought perhaps it was something in the Geneva air where the meetings were held or perhaps the lack of a good quality tea.
There, said the Mad Hatter, we have been talking for a quarter of an hour and its still four o’clock. “Are you sure you won’t join me in another cup of tea?” Alice thought for a few seconds, smiled, and asked the Mad Hatter to pour. After all compared to the UN delegates her companions around the table were a pretty sane and sensible bunch.
With apologies to Lewis Carroll author of “Alice In Wonderland.” I somehow believe if he were alive today he would smile benignly on the article above.